Sunderland away was, for a time, a fixture where Manchester City fans often wondered whether the team bus had run over a parade of all-singing and dancing Black Cats en route to the north-east.
Four consecutive 1-0 defeats at the Stadium of Light from August 2010 to November 2013 left Blues’ supporters scratching their head with disbelief – particularly the agonising loss on New Year’s Day 2012, when Ji Dong-Won scrambled home an injury time winner after 90 minutes of one way traffic from Roberto Mancini’s side.
Fortunately for them, however, that duck has been broken. City have won seven of the last eight encounters – starting with the memorable 2014 League Cup final triumph in, incidentally, the first weekend of March.
In fact, the club’s record against Sunderland in March makes somewhat pleasant reading, to say the least. The two sides have gone head to head this month on 16 occasions, with City registering 10 wins to Sunderland’s three.
You have to venture back to 1925 to find the last time the Mackems got the better of City in the third month of the year. Bob Kyle, the Black Cat’s longest serving manager, brought Sunderland to Maine Road on 3 October and recorded a 3-1 victory over Albert Alexander’s side.
The teams have met once before on 5 March – that too was a Sunday, back in 2006. Georgios Samaras inspired Stuart Pearce’s team to a 2-1 win, with two goals in two first half minutes at Eastlands.
That would be City’s last home victory of the 2005-06 campaign, with the Blues only picking up a further three points in the remaining 10 games – a 1-0 win at Villa Park on 25 April 2006. That set the scene for Pearce’s final season at the club – the good old days.
The last time City travelled to Sunderland on a Sunday was 14 March 2010, where Adam Johnson scored a last minute equaliser for Mancini’s team. In total, there have been four meetings between the two on a Sunday – the Blues have won the other three encounters.
Overall, City’s record against the Black Cats is relatively hit and miss, although they just about have the upper hand. It’s played 144, with City winning 69, losing 50, and drawing 25.
So, if facts, figures, superstitions, prophecies and premonitions are to be believed, history suggests that Pep Guardiola will register a victory on his first visit to Wearside. After all, the odds are in his favour: it’s a Sunday and it’s March. You do the maths.
Written by Chris Wildgoose
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